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Home: Casino: Roulette rules

Roulette rules Table layout Single zero wheel Double zero wheel Glossary Tips Martingale System Roulette odds

Rules and how to play Roulette

Roulette was first played in France back in the 17th century. It is now one of the most popular European gambling games and Monte Carlo in Monaco is a well known and famous casino center for playing roulette.

The Basics
Players, usually up to eight, play against the house represented by the croupier also called the dealer, who spins the roulette wheel and handles the wagers and payouts. In the European roulette and French roulette version, the wheel has 37 slots representing 36 numbers and one zero. In the USA most roulette wheels have two zeros and therefore 38 slots.

Each player buys-in a different colored chips so their bets don't get mixed up. At the end of play, if you won, you exchange back the colored chips with cash chips. These are special chips with the value amount imprinted on them. There are several denominations in various colors. You then take these chips to the cash desk where they will give you actual cash money in exchange.

To play roulette, you place your bet or bets on numbers (any number including the zero) in the table layout or on the outside, and when everybody at the table had a chance to place their bets, the croupier starts the spin and launches the ball. Just a few moments before the ball is about to drop over the slots, the croupier says 'no more bets'. From that moment no one is allowed to place - or change - their bets until the ball drops on a slot. Only after the croupier places the dolly on the winning number on the roulette table and clears all the losing bets you can then start placing your new bets while the croupier pays the winners. The winners are those bets that are on or around the number that comes up. Also the bets on the outside of the layout win if the winning number is represented.

The house advantage
On a single zero roulette table the house advantage is 2.7%. On a double zero roulette table it is 5.26% (7.9% on the five-number bet, 0-00-1-2-3). The house advantage is gained by paying the winners a chip or two (or a proportion of it) less than what it should have been if there was no advantage. (See Roulette Quiz - The Casino Advantage.)

The 'En Prison' rule
A roulette rule applied to even-money bets only, and by some casinos (not all). When the outcome is zero, some casinos will allow the player to either take back half his/her bet or leave the bet (en prison = in prison) for another roulette spin. In the second case, if the following spin the outcome is again zero, then the whole bet is lost.

The 'La Partage' rule
The la partage roulette rule is similar to the en prison rule, only in this case the player loses half the bet and does not have the option of leaving the bet en prison for another spin. This refers to the 'outside' even-money bets Red/Black, High/Low, Odd/Even and applies when the outcome is zero. Both the La Partage and the En Prison roulette rules essentially cut the casino edge on the 'even-money bets' in half. So a bet on Red on a single-zero roulette table with the la partage rule or the en prison rule has a 1.35% house edge and one on a double-zero roulette table has a house edge of 2.63%.

The payouts
A bet on one number only, called a straight-up bet, pays 35 to 1. (You collect 36. With no house advantage you should collect 37 (38 in the USA on double zero roulette wheels).
A two-number bet, called split bet, pays 17 to 1.
A three-number bet, called street bet, pays 11 to 1.
A four-number bet, called corner bet, pays 8 to 1.
A six-number bet, pays 5 to 1.
A bet on the outside dozen or column, pays 2 to 1.
A bet on the outside even money bets, pays 1 to 1.

Object of the game
To win at roulette the player needs to predict where the ball will land after each spin. This is by no means easy. In fact, luck plays an important part in this game. Some players go with the winning numbers calling them 'hot' numbers and therefore likely to come up more times. Others see which numbers did not come up for some time and bet on them believing that their turn is now due. Some players bet on many numbers to increase their chances of winning at every spin, but this way the payout is considerably reduced. Other methodical players use specific roulette systems or methods, money management systems, or both.

French roulette rules

The French roulette rules are very much like the European roulette rules. It has the same 37 numbered wheel with one zero but a different table layout for the outside bets. See Table layout (Link opens new window).

The player odds in French roulette are the same as in European roulette (only one zero) and better than the odds in American roulette (two zeros). The players loose only 50% of their even-money bets when the outcome is zero, known as the 'La Partage' rule.

The object of the game is still the same - to predict which number out of possible 37 the ball will land on. And of course, they speak French. Below are the English and equivalent French terms for the various roulette bets:

Inside bets

  • One number Straight up = En plein
  • Two numbers Split Bet = Cheval
  • Three numbers Street Bet = Transversale
  • Four numbers Corner = Carre
  • Six numbers Line Bet = Sixainne

Outside bets

  • Twelve numbers Column = Colonne
  • Twelve numbers Dozen = Douzaine
  • Red or Black = Rouge, Noir
  • Even or Odd = Pair, Impair
  • Low or High numbers = Manque, Passe

Roulette rules - Table layouts - Roulette single zero - Roulette double zero - Roulette glossary - Roulette tips - Martingale System - Roulette odds

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